(Rapaport…September 15, 2004) The South African Diamond Board (SADB) has expressed concern over the manner in which organized crime gangs are able to smuggle large quantities of diamonds in and out the country, South Africa’s Pretoria News reported Tuesday.
Abbey Chikane, the chairman of the SADB and the former chairman of the Kimberley Process, said the board was surprised at the quantities and value of rough diamonds that were reported to have been smuggled.
Earlier this week, triad member Tsang Fen Yei was quoted in a report published in The South African Star as saying that officials at designated certificate-issuing authorities are easily coerced into breaching the system.
“No security system is impenetrable. Diamond buyers are also corrupt … they seldom question the true source of a diamond’s origin,” Tsang Fen Yei said.
However, Chikane expressed skepticism about the triad’s claim that it is possible to purchase blank certificates-of-origin to circumvent the Kimberley Process.
“The certificates to verify the authenticity of a diamond’s origins are individually numbered with a unique serial number. Any discrepancy in the issuing process will be rapidly uncovered”, he said.